To the vet’s (Minnie has hepatitis)

At 8.45am, I brought out two carriers, lined them with towels and sprayed Feliway inside.

Then I approached Minnie and Smurfy. It was not too difficult catching Minnie although she evaded me a bit. When I put her into the carrier, she went in calmly without resistance.

Next was Smurfy.

Now, he was VERY difficult. I tried for 10 minutes but failed and was resigned to the fact that maybe I should just take Minnie first as I did not want Minnie to wait too long in the carrier.

Then, husband came in and he tried too. We failed to catch Smurfy. He was small, agile, very quick, running all over the place and hiding in nooks. When I tried to approach him, he would hiss. He went behind the piano, settled comfortably onto a cobwebbed ledge and refused to come out. We could not move the piano as it was extremely heavy. Finally, we had to make enough noise on the keyboard before he got out and started zooming all over the house again.

Soon Yui Ping came down and he too tried to help. It was Yui Ping’s brainwave that enabled the “capture” of Smurfy. He placed the carrier at the entrance of the back of the piano. Because Smurfy knew that the back of the piano is his safe haven – we could not catch him from there.

So, we gave tried to corner him again and he started zooming all over and decided to run right into the carrier!! Yui Ping was on hand to close the door shut!

DONE!!

Phew….that took maybe 25 minutes in all. And through it all, Minnie was sitting calmly in the carrier. I brought Smurfy’s carrier and placed it next to Minnie’s so that they could see each other.

Then, I loaded them into the car and off we went on a very quiet car trip. Except for the radio, no one made a sound. I kept talking to both of them to assure them that everything would be okay.

Facing each other for comfort and assurance.

We waited for about 40 minutes for our turn.

The vet wanted to examine Smurfy first, but he was swiping and hissing from the back of his carrier, so we did Minnie first.

Minnie was reluctant at first, but eventually allowed the vet assistant to take her out from the carrier.

The vet palpated her organs and felt well-formed stools. Nothing abnormal from the palpitation and the vet could not feel any pregnancy at all. I really, really hoped Minnie is not pregnant.

Blood was taken from the leg and the blood appeared to be quite diluted. I started to worry in case she was anaemic or worse, had FeLV.

And ear-prick blood test was done and there was neutrophils (indicative of infection) and worm eggs.

The vet also cleaned Minnie’s ears and trimmed her claws. She examined Minnie’s mouth and said Minnie is a little pale. But her teeth are in good condition and the vet placed her at 1-2 years old. I first spotted Minnie sometime ago when she was clutching newborns and walking up the road to a hiding place. Could this be when Smurfy was born?  It would have been about 3 months ago, if my memory does not fail me. Or was that an earlier litter. At that time, Minnie came from one of the houses down the road. She did have a home then.

Minnie’s blood was spun as well, and red blood cells was less than half the volume (it should be half) and her plasma was yellow which shows without a doubt that Minnie has jaundice.

A Chem10 blood test was done and also the FIV/FeLV test.

Minnie is FIV/FeLV negative. That’s good.

The blood test showed that her glucose and kidneys are fine, but her ALT (liver) reading and globulins were high.  The high ALT reading indicates liver inflammation and infection which corresponds with the yellow plasma (jaundice). So, Minnie has hepatitis (liver inflammation).  The vet said Minnie would need to be treated for the hepatits first before anything else can be done. For this, it’s best to board her so that the vet can monitor her for the first few days. After that, once she is more stable and we know what she needs, I can take her home and continue feeding her medicine.

Liver disease is a little less worrying than kidney disease because the liver can regenerate itself, especially so when Minnie is young. Kidney disease will progress because there is no regeneration of the nephrons (unless there is stemcell treatment for cats, right now, it is only for dogs). All we can do is to maintain (or stretch) it for as long as possible, which is what I’m currently doing with Pole, Bunny, Indy and Cleo. There is no turning back until the stemcell treatment is ready for cats. Then, there is hope for nephron regeneration.

I asked what could have caused the hepatitis for Minnie. There are multiple causes. It could be a bacterial and parasitic infection or she could have ingested something toxic which was what happened to Rosie a few years ago. Tried as we did, we could not save her as it was too far gone by the time she demonstrated symptoms of not eating. Rosie had intrahepatic cholestasis (bile duck blockages in the entire liver). So imagine that, I was feeding Rosie every day and I never suspected her to have had jaundice…until she stopped eating. For this, I’m thankful I managed to bring Minnie to the vet today. At least we can do something at this early stage to help Minnie recover. Minnie had been eating so well, never would I have suspected she could have hepatitis.

Minnie was dewormed and given the liver supplement, Legalon and an antibiotic, Clavamox.

She was also given a subcut of 200ml. Minnie was very obedient and cooperative throughout, although she did resist a little, which is totally understandable since it is probably her very first time at a clinic. But from her behaviour, even the vet said Minnie isn’t a “stray stray”. It looks like she has had some human contact before. I guess the same too, otherwise, why would she have trusted me so quickly. This makes me suspect that she could be an abandoned pet.

It does make sense because if there is a brand new cat on the block, the Chief of Security would always tell me. Minnie seems to have been let out to fend for herself over the last few months.

Minnie was given Revolution spot-on too.

The vet did an ultrasound on Minnie to check for any abnormalities in her liver and also to check for the presence of any foetus. Her liver looks fine (no tumours were detected), but there were two tiny spots of “loops” which could be very early foetuses. I asked how sure we are and the vet said she cannot say for sure. It just “looked” like foetuses. It may not be, so an ultrasound will be done again before discharge. In any case, with her liver disease, even if she is pregnant, sometimes it might not continue. It could be naturally miscarried because the mother is unwell. I asked how advance is the pregnancy if indeed those “loops” were foetuses, the vet said “1-2 weeks” only.

But now, even if Minnie is not pregnant, she cannot be spayed UNTIL she recovers from the hepatitis and is in good health.

Her PCV is at 30%, which is acceptable. So, she is not anaemic.

Next, it was Smurfy’s turn. The little gutsy fellow was hissing and swiping from the back of his carrier. But the vet assistant managed to get him out using a towel. For “strays”, the vet will not open the top of the carrier because the sudden bright lights would be very stressful and frightening for them.

Smurfy’s ears look like it had mange or some fungal infection. A sample was taken, examined under the microscope, also the UV-light was used, but it did not appear to be fungal in nature. Anyway, Smurfy was dewormed and given Revolution spot-on as well. The spot-on would help with the ear infection.

Even though only Minnie needs to be boarded, I decided to board them both together because they are inseparable. At least they would have each other for company. If I separated them, Minnie might worry and be depressed since she is still looking after Smurfy very well. Smurfy would also be completely lost without his mum. So, I boarded them both. I had brought along a 1kg pack of Coco&Joe’s. The vet will mix it with some kibble during their stay there.

The boarding will be for a few days so that the vet can monitor Minnie’s condition and do the necessary treatment for her. Once she is stable and can be on a regimen of treatment which I can do from home, both can be discharged.

One step at a time.

I did not take any photos at the clinic as photos are prohibited.

The vet did mention the possibility of FIP, judging from Minnie’s readings, but she doubts it and says the coronavirus test isn’t necessary at this point in time. But I texted her just now to do it anyway. Might as well rule that out.

The latest message from the vet says that both are perfectly alright and Minnie was eating too. I’m SURE Smurfy would eat – I have no doubt about that!

I hope Minnie gets well soon.

Upon reflection, it’s not true that street animals are without medical problems. They do have, and if undetected and untreated, they will die on the street, alone. This is sad. Hence, neuter, neuter, neuter, and find them good and loving forever homes (this is also another huge challenge).

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